Having a baby can be costly, and most of the time we get excited about buying plenty of new stuff for our bundle of joy. But which of those baby stuff should we get new versus used?
One of the questions most asked by parents is whether it's a good idea to use cheap infant safety seats bought from an online or garage sale or borrowed from someone. There are some reasons why it is not advisable to buy cheap used car seats and parents should know what these are first before getting one.
However, if you are low on budget and want to save some money off, it may be worth considering just as long as you know how to determine if it will keep your baby safe on the road or not. Also, it is worth noting that there are numerous new quality cheap safety seats available in the market today that you may want to have a look at as well.
Make sure you have verified the used seat's age before buying it. Look for its manufacturer's label, usually found at the bottom or the back which will indicate its expiration date. A harnessed baby car seat's expiration is six years from its manufacturing date while booster seats are longer. You may call the manufacturer if you are unsure about it. Manufacturers are required by law to include their contact details and the seat's manufacture date on its label. The label will also provide you with essential information such as model which will come handy when looking out for possible recalls. If a safety seat does not have a label, it is best to look for another one.
Seats expire not because a manufacturer wants to make more money. As a parent, you will not give your children expired medicine or milk, and this applies to baby car seats as well. One of the reasons for this is that the majority of these safety precautions use plastic, which will become weak and brittle as they age and will not withstand a critical car crash. So if you want the seat to function adequately, its plastic should be new enough. Those models with a nine-year expiry date use either a different type plastic or have steel support.
It is also important to ask the previous owner if the seat has been in a car accident. You can also use its model number to verify if it is part of a recall or not. Manufacturers have replacement standards whether it is still safe to use or not. Most manufacturers recommend not to use a car seat if it has been in an accident, while some will base their decision on several factors like if there are people injured or the point of collision to the seat. Most used car seat sellers will not provide you with these vital details. Keep in mind that even a seat which has been in a severe crash may not show any indications of damage.
A recall is standard for car seats. You can check online for the recall list. However, the best way is to call the manufacturer. Make sure you have all the essential details such as model number and name and the device's manufacture date. Manufacturers will test these seats and remedy any issues. Most recalled seats can be used again safely.
Buying a cheap used car seat should always be your second option. If you have the means, you may want to consider buying a new one instead as it can make a world of difference when it comes to your child's safety. Moreover, regulations on baby passenger safety and safety seat requirements can vary. Purchasing a new one guarantees that your child's seat will meet current standards.